Nowadays, thanks to faster Internet and improved online communications, more and more businesses are hiring remote workers. Many professionals are providing their services through remote jobs, which allow them to enjoy numerous benefits. Some of these include: a more balanced work and personal life, financial benefits (saving money on gas or fare), becoming more productive, avoiding traffic, and dealing with fewer office distractions.
Offering remote work also benefits employers. When quality remote workers are managed properly, those who employ them can also expect to reap huge benefits. Some of the greatest benefits that remote work can bring to employers include: improved workforce productivity, reduced carbon footprint, and becoming more eco-friendly.
If you are planning to outsource jobs to remote workers, you should understand that, while you will easily find a lot of these kinds of individuals, it does not mean that they will all make great employees simply because their rate of pay is often much less than onshore ones. The key is to know exactly what to do when it comes to searching for quality remote employees. So to help you get started and ensure that you will be hiring the right applicants at fair prices (not to mention those with access to high speed Internet), here are four tips to keep in mind.
Narrow Down Your List to Potential Candidates Who Have the Right Traits
Knowing what the right traits to look for are in a remote worker will go a long way to helping you ensure that those you will hire are indeed the best for your organization. There are certain traits that you want your remote employees to have, so looking for these will help you narrow down your list of prospects. You should consider incorporating personality testing in your recruitment process in general just to understand who you are as a company and what you are looking for in your staff. This type of test, in addition to helping you determine whether the applicant is an introvert or an extrovert, will also aid you in analyzing the applicant’s traits, work ethics, and values.
Here are 5 of the most important qualities you need to look for:
Time Management – Since you will not be able to directly supervise your remote employees, you need them to be masters when it comes to managing their own time. They should be able to properly demonstrate their skills in managing themselves without your constant supervision so that they can always complete their tasks on time and without delays.
There are various ways for you to check a job applicant’s time management skills and have them provide you with the proof that you need. One is to go through the traditional employment verification process, wherein you will contact the previous employer to find out about his/her work record there. Another way is to make the applicants understand that you are particularly looking for someone who possesses this skill set. You should also inform them that doing so would expedite the recruitment process and screen out those that are looking for in-office work.
Takes Initiative – It is highly likely that many of your remote workers will be in different time zones. With this being said, it will help if they are able to take initiative on the tasks handed to them rather than waiting for you to wake up and answer their questions or give them instructions. They should also ask as many relevant questions as possible when necessary so as not to waste time (and your money) taking the project the wrong way.
Goal Oriented – Your remote workers should be goal oriented. It means that they have delivered exemplary results in all of the tasks assigned to them. They are ambitious, a trait that can be seen not only in the results of the project they were given but also in the timely manner of their delivery. Aside from personality testing, you can also check this by going through their previous projects, understanding if goals were met. By ensuring that all the members of your remote staff understand the organization’s goals and how the quality of their work will affect these, they will be able to work better and collaborate more efficiently.
Proof of Past Success – This is very important. You need to make sure that the people you will be hiring are trustworthy, especially since you will not be able to supervise them in a direct manner. Ask the potential candidates to provide you with samples of past work as well as references. Use these to find out the quality of work they provided and if they were able to meet deadlines without problems.
Take Advantage of Online Marketplaces
Since remote working is all about online communication, it only makes sense that you will find such professionals online. Conduct your search and start with quality online marketplaces.
Great examples of online marketplaces are oDesk, eLance, Freelancer, Guru, 99 Designs and Virtual Coworker. These sites also implement their own screening process, so taking advantage of them will help you save some time. A big plus for these marketplaces is that you are able to instantly read presumably unbiased reviews of freelancers past work. You should also make your requests as specific as possible so that you can further reduce the number of prospects you have to deal with.
Know the Right Questions to Ask
Once you have a shortened list of potential job candidates, you can now start conducting interviews. You can always do this following your organization’s traditional methods, but since we are talking about remote working, there are a few other important questions you should never forget to ask. Here are some of the areas that you need to know more about:
Internet Connection – Not all internet is the same. Some countries have a huge advantage with connection to the Net. You may want to take a closer look into these areas and consider hiring employees who live in them. For example, according to this Bloomberg report, Hong Kong is the region with the fastest Internet. Next on the list are Japan, Romania, South Korea, Latvia, Singapore, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Netherlands, and Belgium.
Troubleshooting IT – Of course, even the fastest Internet connection can be problematic at times. This is why you also want to hire a remote employee who have some knowledge in troubleshooting such problems. You can find this out easily by asking prospects what they will do in the event that their Internet service stops working. If their answer is to just wait for someone else to fix it for them, then you know that they have limited knowledge in resolving Internet-related problems that they are likely to encounter. If not, then your company’s IT department should be able to compensate here with remote troubleshooting.
Work Environment – While high speed Internet connection is definitely a must, having a separate work area (preferable with a door) is just as important. This will allow them to work better and be more focused, ensuring that they deliver quality work without delays.
Negotiate Payment and Convenient Work Schedules
Since you are expecting your remote workers to deliver high quality results and meet deadlines, you should also be prepared to pay them right for their hard work. One way to ensure that the rate you will be offering is within the acceptable range is to factor in the cost of living index in the employee’s country.
For example, if you are going to hire remote workers from countries and cities known for having the fastest Internet connection, take a look at each of the factors that comprise their cost of living index. Hong Kong, which had an average peak Internet speed of 63.6 megabits/second, has a consumer price index of 80.87. With rent, it is 97.95. More on this math later in the next Worksnaps Blog Post.
So what does this mean for you? It simply means that when it comes to negotiating payment with your prospective remote workers, you also have to take into consideration their cost of living. You have to come up with a rate that you and your potential employees will be comfortable with. If you go way below this index, your chances of finding good remote workers will go down. What you will be left with are those willing to work for less but who deliver results far below what your organization needs, whose Internet connection may be problematic, and whose work ethics are less-than-perfect.
To be continued…
This is the first part of our two-part series on finding quality remote workers.